When I say nugget, you think of chicken. Don't deny it. The chicken nugget came well after the gold nugget, and was named after the latter because of the lumpy connection. Anyway, nugget as a word itself has an obscured origin. The predominant theory is that it's an alteration of nug, a colloquial version of nib, if you will, which meant something like "lump" (this definition survived to today as slang for marijuana). The less likely theory that I like better is that it's an incorrect contraction of an ingot, an ingot being "a block of metal". If this is indeed the case, ingot would then trace to the Old English word ingyte, which meant "pouring in" since molten metals had to be poured into a frame to be cast (or SOMETHING. I'm a linguist, not a blacksmith). Eliminate the common prefix in- and we have ourselves the Proto-Germanic gutiz ("to flow"), from earlier geutana and ultimately from Proto-Indo-European ghew, both meaning "to pour".
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd